|By Brent Marinaccio||
|July 28, 2005 04:00 PM EDT||
Welcome to my first installment as a LinuxWorld Magazine writer. I'm taking over from my colleague Rob Jones and I hope to continue on the same track of providing information on certifications, as well as discussing the nuances in the Linux/Open Source recruiting landscape.
For this article, I decided to focus on one of the relatively new Open Source certifications that are permeating the marketplace: the ZCE, or Zend Certified Engineer, based on the popular PHP language from Zend, the PHP company. As the use of PHP in the enterprise grows, it's only natural that certification go along with it, as with ZCE.
Since it's less than a year old, I decided to take a different approach than in the past. I figured it would be best to go directly to the source of the most accurate information on it and its relevance in the marketplace. So I did a brief e-mail interview with Daniel Kushner, director of education at Zend.
LWM: How long has the exam been in existence?
DK: Since July 26, 2004. We launched the program at OSCON 2004.
LWM: What is the number of ZCEs now?
DK: Around 400. There's a high rate of adoption in the enterprise that's starting to use the Zend PHP Certification in the recruitment process.
LWM: What is their breakdown of location? How many in the U.S., Europe, etc?
DK: Back-of-the-envelope calculations would be approximately 40% U.S., 45% Europe, and 15% ROW.
LWM: What is the pass rate of the people that take the exam?
DK: Around 85%. This number is dropping as we emerge out of the early adopter stage. I expect it to reach 80% and then level off.
LWM: What is the amount of experience that you recommend for someone looking to take the exam?
DK: At least a year of daily PHP development. The exam tests real-world experience. Books, training, and cramming aren't enough to pass the exam and can't replace hands-on.
LWM: Do you advise people to buy the study guide?
DK: Definitely. Not only as a study guide, but to learn the important elements in the PHP language that you might not use on a daily basis or don't know about. This is what I hear again and again from professional PHP developers.
LWM: Do you happen to have any data that suggests the difference in salaries for people with the certification as opposed to without it?
DK: I don't have specific data, but on a recent survey I did with current ZCEs, at least 25% noticed a salary/revenue increase directly related to the Zend PHP Certification.
LWM: Is it strictly a multiple-choice exam? If not, what else is involved?
DK: On the multiple-choice questions we specify the number of correct answers. So, for example, if there's a question where three choices are correct, the candidates will be specifically asked to mark three answers. There are about 12% open-text questions. These are usually one-four word answers that are graded automatically by the testing engine. Open-text questions are normally about function names, code output, and variable types.
LWM: Where is the exam administered?
DK: Zend partnered with Pearson VUE to deliver the Zend PHP Certification at 8,000 test centers worldwide. Using a secure, reliable, and high-performance infrastructure, VUE handles most test delivery. We also provide paper-based exams at various conferences. Upcoming conferences would be php|works (www.phparch.com/phpworks/), and the Zend PHP Conference (http://zend.kbconferences.com/).
LWM: Do you plan on having any follow-on certification to the ZCE? Perhaps something that would encompass other parts of the LAMP stack?
DK: We're currently discussing the possibility of an advanced-level certification. This would be a natural extension of the current certification program. With regard to a LAMP stack certification, there are other entities that are looking into this. I'm in contact with them, and the Zend PHP Certification will the "P" in LAMP.
As a result of being able to get much of the core information about the ZCE, we wanted to go "to the street" to get the viewpoint of a company that has compensated its employees to get the ZCE. I wanted to find out firsthand why this company felt that it was necessary to have its developers obtain this certification. Gregory Stoltz, CTO of Direct Response Technologies, was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to have an e-mail chat with us about why it's so important. This is what he told us:
LWM: Could you tell me about your work/development environment and why the Zend certification was important?
GS: Our company provides a number of hosted solutions to our clients. All of these solutions are built on a solid LAMP platform and PHP is at the core of all of the software we create and support. Our company has had large-scale PHP-based applications in production for over eight years and having a qualified and motivated team is vital to our success.
|Peppie 06/18/07 09:56:36 AM EDT|
Any news on the layout of the new Zend Zertified engineer exam? Since Vip Malixi comments I am anxiously awaiting answers from Zend, but alas nothing. I am recertifying on PHP5 and would love to know if the exam has changed, eg open-book, etc.
|vip malixi 01/10/06 10:07:27 PM EST|
I thought you might be interested in comments about the PHP Certification exam (ZCE):
I was planning to take the PHP Certification exam but, as a Psychology Major who has studied Testing Methods, I am disappointed with how your test has been designed. It clearly fails to measure a person's understanding of PHP. It also does not measure a person's PHP coding ability. What your test does measure is a person's ability to memorize and understand manuals as well as handle trick questions.
A proper test must measure what it is supposed to measure. Thus, for example, a test to measure a person's spelling ability shouldn't require the examinee to know the meaning of the words being spelled. If the test was to measure the examinee's spelling and comprehension ability, then and only then, should questions about word meanings be included.
In your test, a lot of its difficulty stems from having to memorize large portions of the PHP manual, mainly function syntax. If part of your purpose is to measure the examinee's memorization capability, then this is valid. Unfortunately, this will more often than not run counter to your main goal of measuring a person's understanding of PHP. What I mean is, a person who is adept at PHP, may, for the sake of economy, speed and accuracy, always depend on consulting the manual or a glossary of functions to make sure their syntax is always correct and up to date--thus never really relying on memory. It is for a similar reason that pilots and astronauts go through a written checklist rather than depend on memory to avoid disastrous syntax/memory errors--but doing so, doesn't mean they are bad pilots or astronauts, it actually means they are thorough at what they do. Similarly, a good PHP programmer would invariably always consult with the manual or copy/paste from his glossary to make sure his syntax is correct. Thus for your test to require the examinee to memorize large portions of the PHP manual is actually counter to measuring whether the examinee has a good understanding of PHP.
It would be better then to allow examinees to have a copy of the PHP manual available during test taking and to inform them that it would be available. What this would do is allow the examinee to concentrate on his "understanding" of PHP rather than his memorization skills.
I suggest you make this correction to your certification exam. Another problem with the exam is the use of a lot of trick questions--questions that are not straightforward (in your exam, you can tell something is a trick question by asking yourself if the question-problem or code snippet example is actually used or can possibly be encountered in real-world situations--if it cannot, then it most probably is a trick question). Again, this is a "no no" in testing methods. If you are measuring a student's ability to uncover and overcome trickery, then well and good, but it has no place in a properly-designed test.
It would help greatly if you consulted with a good Testing Methods professional to check if your Certification Exam has other aspects that need improvement.
I suggest you have the people who developed the test to take a look at...
...which gives a good overview of proper Testing Methods.
Thank you and keep up the good work.
|LinuxWorld News Desk 07/28/05 03:36:45 PM EDT|
An In-Depth Look At The Zend Certified Engineer (ZCE) Certification. Welcome to my first installment as a LinuxWorld Magazine writer. I'm taking over from my colleague Rob Jones and I hope to continue on the same track of providing information on certifications, as well as discussing the nuances in the Linux/Open Source recruiting landscape.
In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally. DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.
Dec. 21, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 730
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 21, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 2,002
ScriptRock makes GuardRail, a DevOps-ready platform for configuration monitoring. Realizing we were spending way too much time digging up, cataloguing, and tracking machine configurations, we began writing our own scripts and tools to handle what is normally an enormous chore. Then we took the concept a step further, giving it a beautiful interface and making it simple enough for our bosses to understand. We named it GuardRail after its function - to allow businesses to move fast and stay sa...
Dec. 21, 2014 02:30 PM EST Reads: 819
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
Dec. 21, 2014 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,347
SYS-CON Media announced today that Sematext launched a popular blog feed on DevOps Journal with over 6,000 story reads over the weekend. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Sematext is a globally distributed organization that builds innovative Cloud and On Premises solutions for performance monitoring, alerting an...
Dec. 21, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 797
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 21, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 1,980
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
Dec. 21, 2014 11:30 AM EST Reads: 2,410
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
Dec. 21, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,973
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
Dec. 21, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,992
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
Dec. 21, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 2,044
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada...
Dec. 21, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 2,146
SYS-CON Media announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, VP of Marketing, Application Performance Management and DevOps at CA Technologies, has joined DevOps Journal’s authors. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Aruna's inaugural article "Four Essential Cultural Hacks for DevOps Newbies" discusses how to demonstrate the...
Dec. 21, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,795
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, p...
Dec. 21, 2014 08:30 AM EST Reads: 2,268
SYS-CON Events announced today that AIC, a leading provider of OEM/ODM server and storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AIC is a leading provider of both standard OTS, off-the-shelf, and OEM/ODM server and storage solutions. With expert in-house design capabilities, validation, manufacturing and production, AIC's broad selection of products are highly flexible and are conf...
Dec. 21, 2014 06:30 AM EST Reads: 1,964
ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's